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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Baseless hatred

If you don't live here, it might be hard to imagine how much resentment there is against Haredim (ultra-Orthodox) in this country. Where I grew up, there were very few Jews and even fewer religious Jews, and we all stuck together. It's not like that here. Seth Frantzman is spot-on.
Today, with the housing protests that have swept the country, it is worthwhile to pause and ponder one type of baseless hatred that is often not acknowledged: hatred of the Ultra-Orthodox or haredi community.

The savage hatred of haredim comes in many forms. It begins with the things people say; how the haredim are “parasites” who don’t pay taxes and don’t go to the army, that they beat their wives and create a “mini- Tehran” in their communities, that they are dirty, smelly “dosim” and that they “infiltrate” the wonderful utopian secular neighborhoods. Oh, and of course, they are ignorant donkeys who hate Zionism and are intolerant of homosexuals, Arabs and blacks.

This hate is on display everywhere in symbolic acts.

Swastikas sprayed on a synagogue in Kfar Yona, where the secular residents fear a haredi “takeover”. The Eruv (wire surrounding a religious community that allows them to carry items on Shabbat) is cut in Kiryat Yovel by self-proclaimed secular resistance fighters. The huge signs erected by Meretz during its campaign for Jerusalem city council in 2008 that read “End the Haredization of Jerusalem.” A student at Hebrew University does doctoral work analyzing how the haredim invaded Kiryat Yovel, as if anyone can imagine an open minded university sponsoring the work of someone wanting to analyze how Arabs “took over” the Wolfson neighborhood in Acre.

THE HATRED of the haredi population is greatest among those who preach tolerance. Meretz, a far left political party, campaigns to end the haredi infiltration of Jerusalem’s secular bastions, but at the same time it complains of racism when Jews don’t want Arabs moving into Pisgat Zeev. Righteous people denounce the “acceptance committee law” that allows small communities to reject applicants, but the same people don’t seem to mind if a secular community opposes haredim moving to the area simply because they might change the character of the neighborhood. There was an outcry in the country when Rabbis signed a letter asking people not to rent apartments to Arabs in Safed, but there is no outcry among the ‘civil rights’ lobby when Ram Fruman created the Forum for Secular Communities, whose sole goal is to prevent haredi people from moving to “secular” areas. Fruman says “Our association works on two levels – at the local level, in sharing experience, knowledge and resources; and at the national level, in creating a political lobby that can take the lead with public action.” One imagines if the haredim just disguised themselves as Arabs they would be welcomed by the “open minded” secular elites and their rights to move where they want would be defended at the highest levels.

The hatred of the haredi population transcends all political and ethnic groups in Israel; Arabs, leftists, the national religious, free market liberals, even Ethiopians, all have a generally visceral dislike for the black hat.

Nechamia Stressler, the usually level headed columnist at Haaretz says they offer only “rotten goods, rife with ignorance, superstition.” Ron Huldai, mayor of Tel Aviv, described them as “aloof and ignorant people who are growing at an alarming rate.” Yuval Tumarkin, artist and winner of the Israel Prize, once said “when one sees the haredim one understands why there was a Holocaust.”
Read it all.

What he's talking about is the tip of the iceberg - it's what's out in the open. I wear the black skullcap of the Haredi community and have been advised by well-meaning friends that my business might do better if I changed it.

Another reason why much of my business is in America where people are less likely to care.



At 11:35 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Carl - you also wear the fedora, right? I think someone can't tell a Hardal national religious Zionist Jew like yourself apart from those ultra orthodox Jews that are simply indifferent to Israel.

People shouldn't judge other people by mere appearance. Unfortunately, human nature being what it is, people prefer those much like themselves.

What could go wrong indeed

At 11:42 PM, Blogger CL said...

well they ARE anti-Zionists and I have also read that they have given Messianic Jews a hell of a time, harassing them to no end. They are far from perfect and if they want to be treated with respect they should others with the same.

At 11:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there no legitimate reason why they do not hate them? Did you bother to question?

The hatred of the haredi population transcends all political and ethnic groups in Israel; Arabs, leftists, the national religious, free market liberals, even Ethiopians, all have a generally visceral dislike for the black hat.

I don't think it has anything to do with "the hat".

Speaking for the Arab sector, whose "hatred" if it can be called that, isn't based on hatred of religion unlike the secular Jews.

Religious Jews like David Yerushalmi, Pamela Geller, Aubrey Chernick are more likely to be behind Islamophobia (as an extension of Palestinians), because their interpretation of their religion allows them to attack other relgions if deemed a threat, and lie and tell fibs and attack other Prophets.

Rest assured that will rouse hatred.

I don't know about the other groups mentioned, but the Arab group has a genuine reason to hate those that seek to kill their brothers and sisters, steal their land, but more gravely, steal their religous ID and demonise their relgions.

Robert Spencer is funded by far right Zionists. Brieviek supported Zionism and Israel because it is anti Islam, and in his mind he liked the racism it practices against Palestinians.

The picture isn't pretty.

At 12:05 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


Very few are anti-Zionist. Neturei Karta (the people you see out demonstrating for the 'Palestinians') number about 500 people worldwide. Many are indifferent. Many others are closet Zionists or at least supporters.


I suggest that you stay out of this conversation. You are so clueless on this one that you don't know what you're saying and I'm certainly not going to even try to set you straight.

At 1:10 AM, Blogger Sunlight said...

"I wear the black skullcap of the Haredi community and have been advised by well-meaning friends that my business might do better if I changed it."

I know it's not funny (but I can chuckle anyway since I'm so far away), but I know a guy who moved back to the U.S. after doing aliyah and staying six years because he had a hard time holding a job there. He does great in the U.S. The capper was when he finally started working with a headhunter. They sent him on an interview and suggested he not wear his kippah (like they are telling you). So he cooperated and ended up with the debrief that he would be perfect, except they thought he might not fit in because he didn't have on a kippah. So there you go.

This is really history repeating. I think it is why I keep thinking of international book clubs, Torah study, etc. where content is king. And friendships are made without all these wild pressures...

At 1:35 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


When I came out of law school in 1984, almost no one wore a skullcap in the big law firms. We took them off as we walked into the building, and covered our head with our shirtsleeves when we needed to make blessings (there's actually a responsum of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein from this period that discusses doing that and it was one on which many of us depended).

Today, the younger people do wear their skullcaps in the big firms, and I wear mine when I visit the US regardless of where I am.

The difference in Israel is that there is also discrimination based upon the type of skullcap you are wearing. In the US, you'd have to be wearing one to understand the difference.

There were two apocryphal stories about skullcaps when I was in law school. Someone in the class behind me wore his skullcap to more than 20 interviews and got NO offers. Then he took it off for one interview and got an offer.

And there was a brilliant guy at another school who could not get a job offer because he wore a skullcap to his interviews. In one of his interviews, a partner told him that they wanted to hire him, but he looked too... too.... "Jewish?" suggested the candidate. "Yes, that's it," replied the partner. So he removed his skullcap and his peoth (sidecurls) came cascading down both sides of his face. He turned to the partner and asked, "do I look any less Jewish now?" I'm not sure whether that happened at the firm that eventually hired him (I know both the lawyer and the firm - he's now a partner there - but I heard the story from the lawyer who was on the verge of filing a lawsuit on his behalf).

At 2:21 AM, Blogger Sunlight said...

Funny. Well, "secular" (or URJ) type people sending their kids to Jewish day school have a culture shock in having their kids wear a kippah at school all day every day. The kids like it.

At 2:35 AM, Blogger Sunlight said...

Also, it may be less to do with looking "Jewish" than "different" (outside the uniform). Of course, back East, it may be different than out in the boonies where I live. I mean, they won't hire people with non-standard ear (or other visible) piercing for women (or men), people with tats, people with hair or outfits that don't match their corporate culture... Because interface with clients, customers, and co-workers has to be so carefully done not have an uneasiness run them off...

At 3:06 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

In certain situations, a Jew would not wear anything distinctive that would mark him out as a Jew. There are some places were pride has to give way to common sense safety. This includes head covering and wearing distinctive jewelry that draws attention to one's Jewishness.

In certain places in Israel, a haredi or Orthodox Jew would want to pass as "secular" to avoid abuse. The first obligation is preserve one's life.

And its necessary to combat this kind of ill-omened prejudice but its going to be difficult to make it entirely disappear. No evil has yet been eliminated anywhere in the world.

That includes Israel!

At 3:14 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Chayma, don't make generalizations about Orthodox Jews.

As for SchenkersGirl, Orthodox Jews have always been part of the Zionist movement. The very few who aren't, are those who misinterpret or twist the Torah to promote their biased beliefs.

Religious Jews' principal objection to Israel has always been its secular and anti-religious character. That is declining in our era in no small part due to the fact the secular Left is nowadays viscerally anti-Israel.

Much of the hatred of haredi and Orthodox Jews in Israel rests on a perception of them that is increasingly out of date. But as Carl pointed out, entrenched prejudice is the hardest of human vices to uproot and change.

At 3:51 AM, Blogger Findalis said...

I think the resentment of Secular Jews is correct. Haredim do not:

1. Serve in the Army.
2. Most don't work. They want the state to pay for their families while they study.
3. Impose Mullah-style restrictions on the majority of society (think of buses where women are treated like blacks were in the 60's).
4. Treat the Kotel as if it was a great haredim site. It isn't. It is a great Jewish site that should be open to all Jews to worship at.

Another reason why I won't make alyiah. No place for a Jew like me.

At 8:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im secular and vote for Lieberman.
(Just a note to show that im no liberal and have no special feeling for Ay-rabs)

I have many reasons to dislike the Haredim and not wanting them (also Muslim) in my Neighborhood or even my City.

I dont want to hear Moazin 6 times a day and I dont want to hear Shofar (even if its once a year).
I dont want the noise from Synagogue and droves of religipous people around my house, I dont want them to come to kids and try to 'Laahzir Betshuva' them (Oh how many times it happened to me as kid).
I dont want them to come to our Supermarket and demand separation of women and Men.
Basically we the seculars dont want ANYTHING religious or people doing religious things in front of us, bothering us with their boring boring culture.

I dont want to work all my life and pay taxes that LARGE sums will go to religious organizations, they should support themselves like they do in USA.
We dont want a large community of people in Israel that dont contribute ANYTHING to this country (goes both for Haredim and Muslims), that most of them dont go to army, breed like rabbits and becuase they have 10+ kids take large sums of taxes and various discounts for other taxes.

We dont want them passing religious laws...We need separation of Synagogue and State and ban religious political parties.

We dont want them to ruin the image of Israel in the eyes of the world, I mean all those stupid violent demonstrations against factories working on Sabbath, we need MORE factories More foreign investments to have more jobs more hi tech, more money.

Before anyone says the usual, 'We Jews in Israel and if you dont like move', ill remind you WHO build this country after WW2, these hard working people were secular, never kept Kashrut, and in even had mixed showers for men and women back in the beginning of the Kibutz movemnt

Haredim moved here when the country was already build, im not even talking about the fact that they never helped to build it, the builders back then like today were Jews and Arab workers...

In reality, if all Haredim disappear from Israel, it wont hurt the country one bit, will make it much better for everyone else, and the sad thing is that if Muslims disappear it will hurt the economy becuase most of them work in construction (obviously we can bring more from other countries but still it will have an effect)


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